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"Life isn't divided into genres. It's a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical, science-fiction cowboy detective novel."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The World According to Garp

The World According to Garp begins with the decision of Jenny Fields to have a child in a most unorthodox manner. She's indifferent toward men and derives no pleasure from the thought of married life. Therefore, she endeavors to impregnate herself in a manner where she will never again have to contend with a man. And thus, TS Garp is born. Garp grows up to be a writer. The rest of the novel is peppered with a few of his "short" stories meant to give the reader insight into Garp's own peculiar intuitions.

My lame "synopsis" really didn't do justice to this amazing novel. I first read it at 18 and now at 25, I find that the book has much more meaning and substance. The best thing about Irving's writing is that he's so blithely WEIRD. His characters say and do the strangest things, however, Irving is probably the only author that writes so true to life. Garp and all the other main characters are almost painfully real and you can't help but form a keen attachment to them.

As Irving says in his introduction, this novel is his way to express a father and husband's many fears. Death, loss, sorrow, rape, infidelity are all wrapped up in this whopper of a novel but it reads at a truly wonderful, breakneck pace.

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